It began way back in 1965 when the Optimist Club of Gettysburg sponsored the first Optimist Youth Basketball program for youngsters from the Gettysburg area.  It sought to teach the fun and fundamentals of basketball to youngsters in grades 1 through 6, regardless of their individual skill level. At the start the Program rules were very simple, though some thought them to be revolutionary. All kids played, all focused on the fundamentals of the game, no score keeping and all participants were required to have fun.

Forty-nine years later and the Optimist Youth Basketball Program continues to observe the same set of rules and still reaches out to the youth of the community who want to learn the game of basketball, have fun and share an experience that forms life-long memories. The program is conducted every Saturday morning over eight weeks of winter. Currently each one-hour session is held at the Gettysburg Area Middle School between the months of January through March. The players are divided into boy and girl groups; Grades 1-3 and grades 4-6 and in some years, kindergarten. All participants are encouraged to attend, even if they cannot commit to attending all the weekly sessions. Each boy and girl receives a free basketball tee-shirt as a memento of their experience.

The Optimist Club of Gettysburg Youth Basketball Program is one of more than nineteen youth oriented programs conducted and funded by the local Optimist Club each year. Club members, parents and community volunteers act as leaders, monitors, coaches and mentors.  Many of them were once young participants in earlier programs and are now coaching and mentoring their children and grandchildren. Since its inception more than 5000 area young people have participated in the annual basketball outings.  This year’s 115 aspiring players will meet this Saturday morning March 8, and wrap up their season next Saturday, March 15.

The Optimist Club of Gettysburg was chartered in 1958 and continues to be dedicated to providing young people with positive activities and learning opportunities. Club members are men and women who come from all walks of life and who are united in an effort to, “To Bring out the Best in Kids!”

To learn more about the Optimist Club of Gettysburg and our many programs, activities and a membership opportunity, visit , or call 717-220-3416.